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GREEK EDUCATION                         33

Spartan—but it did full justice to all that was of permanent value
in the Spartan system.

This synthesis of Athenian and Spartan practice is the basis
of Plato's discussion of education in his masterwork, the Republic.
In the Republic he brings together all the best features of con-
temporary Greek life, and attempts to show how the perfect
State which made justice the supreme consideration might be
created out of them. Believing that the evils of his time were due
to self-seeking and ignorance on the part of the ruling classes, he
suggested two drastic changes in the character of the State : (x) To
destroy selfishness, he proposed to institute a communistic system
in which family life would disappear and none of the rulers would
have private possessions of any kind ; (2) to overcome ignorance,
he would entrust the business of government to those who had
proved themselves possessed of the necessary knowledge and
insight in the course of a sustained training for the duties of their

The subjects of instruction for which provision was made in
his educational scheme were much the same as those followed by
the more intelligent of the Athenian youth. Up to seventeen or
eighteen, the children of the class from which the future rulers
would be drawn, girls as well as boys, were all to devote them-
selves to gymnastics and music (" music" including all the
literary and artistic interests from the myths and tales told at the
mother's knee to the later study of the poets, and even a smattering
of the sciences for those disposed to learn them)* Following on
that were to come two years of physical training similar in general
character to the customary ephcbic discipline* From twenty to
thirty, the youth of both sexes who had proved themselves capable
of more advanced studies were to work at the mathematical
sciences—arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and harmonics (the
mathematical theory of music). And finally, at thirty, a select
company who had shown distinction both of mind and character
throughout the whole course of their previous training were to
spend five years In the study of dialectic (or philosophy), the
science of the good, before taking their place in the ranks of the
" guardians " of the State,

The novel features of the scheme* as compared with the
common practice of Athens, are the limitation of education to the
ruling class, the equal treatment of the two sexes, the restriction